Volume 1 Chapter 2
English practice in a brothel.
I don’t really remember all prefectures of Japan, but if I have to say what I know about Central Asia, then speaking truthfully I know nothing. Only that in the name of countries there is some -stan.
Nonetheless I didn’t see that as a problem, neither did I want to know more. I wasn’t interested in that.
That the destination was Uzbekistan I learned from the ticket at the airport.
At that time I didn’t know any language other than Japanese, that’s why I wondered whether that wasn’t more of a problem.
Two plane changes and twelve hours later.
My loins and neck were sore, because it was shaking all the time during this long flight. Stretching my back I looked around.
The local airport was very modern, but I was surprised that opening and closing of the door took place by inputting personal data. I don’t know why.
Outside of language and skin color of people passing me by, this was the first time I felt I was abroad.
There was only five of us Japanese, so we kept together.
Some awfully tall man approached and said he was from the company.
“With Japanese please come here.”
He had tanned skin, but he was also white I think.
Not knowing in which country we were nor being sure, we got on the van.
We drove a wide road from the airport, not seeing anything other than occasional road trees. There were almost no buildings. It was a comfortable ride, because the road was straight all the time.
Wide fields found on the left and right side of the road were cotton fields. At least someone in the car said so, but how much of it was the truth I don’t know.
It looked like a film was glued to the window, because the hue was constant all the time. The landscape outside seemed to have a calm, deep color.
I remembered “The Wizard of Oz”. Magical emerald city, seen through green glasses.
The man from the airport was our driver. I noticed, that since he entered the vehicle he had sunglasses on him, but this time it was caused by strong sunlight. Driving the van he spoke.
“I am Ben. Welcome in a foreign land. It’s hot outside, but car interior guarantees us some cold. Please don’t mind the views. After you undergo thirteen week-long training you will be sent to different places. Till that time any free time you must spend in the training camp. Of course there is a bar there and you can also order goods from Amazon. There are no inconveniences so please don’t worry.”
I was interested in a magical emerald city, but I didn’t care about Central Asia’s urban landscape. That’s why I stayed silent.
I don’t know if it’s because of the window seat, but despite strong air conditioning I was hot.
After 2 hours long drive with shaking, when my rear and back went completely stiff, the car stopped.
After taking off the green glasses, it turned out that this was a brown-red sandy place with hot wind, moreover the sky was so blue, like nothing I have ever seen in Japan till now.
Quite sore I stretched my loins admiring the sky.
Suddenly I hear a shrill noise.
I saw how from the military helicopter armed with a machine gun, came out company employees with serious faces and different clothes, dispersing and carefully standing in a row next to each other.
According to Ben’s instructions we got a bed number and we went to a huge dormitory with a half-circular shape.
They assured there will be air conditioning, but for the noise it made, it wasn’t cooler at all.
Beds were bunk beds. I was assigned a place at the top.
Leaving my hand luggage, I went to the assembly point.
I asked for permission to go to the restroom and took care of my needs. I was instructed that next time, I will not receive permission and from now on I have to organize my time in a way, that allows me to take care of it in my own time.
Apparently short and maybe even longer things in a restroom have to be taken care of quickly in this company.
The meeting took place in a room called conference room. It was impressive, though there weren’t any tables. That reminded me, that in the room in Tokyo there weren’t any either. I wonder what to do about writing and taking notes.
The man who stood at the front introduced himself as Charlie. He was a well-built black man.
“Attention. Attention. That’s something you have to remember first. Next, you have to call the company PMSCs (Private Military and Security Companies) and yourself a contractor, contractor.”
“In developed countries under the name PSC, that is private security company, which makes us security personnel. There is no such thing as a mercenary or soldier, don’t call yourself that under any circumstances. Any questions?”
Someone raised a hand.
“And why not?”
Charlie nodded and replied.
“Issues with international treaties.”
I see. A genuine black company, under this name we do on the side all those shady things, that are forbidden by international treaties – I thought.
Next, dress code was mentioned. We are not soldiers, so any clothing is fine. With the exception, that flashy clothes are forbidden. Just like any military clothing, doesn’t matter if it’s recycled or a Chinese imitation.
We do what soldiers do, but we can’t look like soldiers do – I thought. Even from today’s perspective I think, that in fact it is that way.
At the end Charlie told us about the training schedule for the next thirteen weeks.
Wake up at 5:30. After morning toilet, assembly at 5:45. Breakfast at 5:55. At 6:15 beginning of classes.
We work in a 100 minute mode. 90 minutes as a standard unit for class duration. In addition to that, time to take a break and relocate – 10 minutes.
In a day we have 6 lesson units for a total of 10 hours. There is no lunch break. Bringing notebooks is forbidden.
They said there will be no time to look at a notebook or any other text.
During class we will learn the necessary knowledge. There is no physical education, but to maintain health a gym will be available and it is recommended to use it in spare time. A hour is enough.
We go to sleep at 22:30. We get furlough only once every 5 days.
You have to stick to the time allocated to sleep.
In case of health issues, according to the agreement, contract will be annulled.
There will be a test on the 5th week and according to the results, they will decide what’s next.
From 6th week onwards language lessons will start. Depending on the workplace.
At the same time, on the same basis, training matched to the mission and equipment will start.
It seems, that from this moment for some time, they provide us with healthy lifestyle. I don’t care whether it’s good or bad. Ten hours working time without commuting is within the range of my tolerance.
Since they pay me for this, I’m not complaining.
That was all for the first day of the training camp.
Charlie said to use the rest of the time, to get used to the new time zone, and that there will probably be some, that can take few days for that, but here they must deal with it in one.
In my case it was not a problem. After all I was unemployed and I went to sleep and woke up at various times.
I went to sleep ahead of time and started training the next day. The first thing was training pressing a blue button, same as the one in Tokyo.
It was required to press it when needed. When an enemy appears or we find ourselves in range.
Sometimes a civilian appeared, in that case for pressing the blue button, points were subtracted.
I pressed the button repeatedly the whole day.
In the end not thinking about the target of my pressing, I started doing it automatically. Certainly when the right time comes I will do the same.
The button, which I probably already pressed more than a few thousand times, will become a gun trigger.
During that time not only me, but everyone in the camp started pressing it automatically. Really, a well thought out exercise.
I was impressed, that at the end of class, when I started losing my concentration, wrong hints on targets also started appearing. Although no matter what you say, concentration is always hard.
Initially, those were days that just by pressing the blue button by itself, I was exhausted.
I thought that it cannot continue and started thinking of a good way to resolve this.
I noticed that there is a pattern in hints. Starting from sudden ones, through repeating ones, ending with a period where you start to lose concentration and the button should not be pressed.
Actually the time when you could relax was when hints were repeating. The worst was during that last period.
Moving your body and resting your mind are two different things. When I understood that I made a big step forward. During the repeating series allow your head to rest and during times of peace, that is during the last phase, stop resting.
I remembered exercises in elementary school. I thought then, that it was all about standing uniformly, but I realized that I learned something quite significant for this job. Even in standing uniformly there is some discrepancy. When we take note of that discrepancy and we move, the difference will grow bigger.
It’s important to realize it and take advantage of it. That gives good results.
When first day off ended on the 5th day, I was already very good in pressing the blue button.
On my first day off I went to sleep. Majority of the Japanese did the same.
After the next day off on the 5th day, the number of buttons increased. Operations to move forward and fall back appeared and instead of hints there was a description of the situation.
After learning about the situation, you had to press an appropriate button. It was more complicated than before, but just that.
After yet another cycle a few different kinds of blue buttons appeared. It was about pressing the correct one.
Looking at the computer screen, when a tactic plan for a given situation appeared, I pressed the appropriate buttons.
This wasn’t even similar to a computer game – it was blatantly a computer game.
I finally guessed why they hired Japanese that have little in common with war. Both drills and computer games were after all a basic element of culture for Japanese nowadays.
From the start it was all about dividing us accordingly.
For the first time I was able to put my day off to a good use on the third time. This probably means I got used to the conditions here.
Kishimoto, who joined in the same year as me, told me that free time here is usually spent on sexual services, but I wasn’t interested in going to such places, so I stayed alone in camp.
I got on the courtesy car that was leaving the camp.
I thought that I made a mistake getting on it. I didn’t understand what they’re saying. Maybe it’s our company policy, but fortunately all classes were held in Japanese, so I already got used to it.
However it seems that here they didn’t care about that. Maybe because of carelessness? Shyness? I can’t describe it differently.
In the car you spoke in English I think. I sat in my seat and stayed silent. What to do, when I don’t understand what they are talking about. Even if I understood, I would’ve probably said nothing.
After 30 minutes we have arrived.
I didn’t know exactly where, but I more or less guessed, that they will come pick me up in the evening. I also have an impression, that they also warned me about something, but I haven’t really understood that.
Probably to not wander off too far away from the building with sexual services.
I think I’m guessing correctly that rather than desertion, that the company doesn’t tolerate, it’s about obligations to this country.
In any case, I don’t understand what they are speaking to me anyway, so I can’t help it. I started to search for a place nearby where I could sit and wait for them to pick me up, but when I was looking around the area, I was dragged by the people in the building inside.
They didn’t speak Japanese or English there, yet despite that everyone in some magical way understood each other.
Common thing for the whole world. If you think about it, this place was a sexual salvation for all nations. The company I belong to also offers one of such things characteristic to the military.
Despite being universal for all countries, it is generally not very welcome.
Inside was a loud air conditioning, but instead of a pleasant cool atmosphere it was downright cold.
A fat woman, clearly older than my mother, who looked like a brothel madam, came to say something.
I had problems, because I didn’t understand what she was saying, and neither did she, however after a while she brought a girl.
She had quite manlike clothes, trousers in ivory color and a white shirt, but her appearance was as womanly as possible. What stood out was something different. Darkish skin, big eyes and long, curly, black hair.
When I saw her I wondered how old she could be. She had deep wrinkles on her face, I wonder if it’s because of the sun. She could be in her teens as well as in her thirties, it was impossible to tell how old she was exactly.
I haven’t watched women so much that I would be familiar with it, but in her case I couldn’t even begin to guess.
She said and I nodded. She explained that she is called Shawii and she charges 100 dollars in advance.
When I paid, the brothel madam whistled. Shawii smiled slightly and while pulling my sleeves said.
“Come here, please.”
I was offered a room without doors. Perhaps originally they were there, but apparently they were removed from the whole building.
It doesn’t matter whether you don’t want to see the neighboring room. You can see and hear everything.
I asked Shawii why there are no doors while drinking alcohol she gave me.
Smiling, she replied shortly. She was sitting beside me on the sofa while sticking close to me. It was pleasant to feel the warmth of human skin. It’s possible that this too strong air conditioning was supposed to bring this effect. Every work is full of new solutions.
I asked Shawii, which smiled even more. She thought for a bit and while looking me in the face, said seriously.
“Sometimes a customer is drunk. Strangling, drugs, firearms, beating and knives are forbidden. That’s why there are no doors.”
I was impressed. Idea that for protection there are no doors was for me something entirely new. Rather unthinkable in Japan.
Not minding my surprise, Shawii started squirming as though she were uncomfortable.
Only much later did I learn that such talks make the work of those girls more difficult. However at that time I didn’t know that.
I had no way of knowing because I was lacking experience. In Japan I never were in such a place. I wondered myself what I was doing there.
Later I have concluded, that I probably just wanted some privacy. Beside restroom, I constantly spent my time with lots of random people.
I was already tired of that, very tired. Although I didn’t even think that in the place I escaped to, there wouldn’t be any doors.
I only wanted privacy.
Honestly, to express with words exactly how I was feeling, I would say that I didn’t need company.
Sometime around the noon I ate undercooked bread with chicken boiled with onion, garlic and pepper.
They didn’t bill me anything for that.
Shawii looked puzzled.
I was satisfied with the taste and I started talking to her.
She probably understood at last what sort of customer she was dealing with and agreed to the conversation. And so the time has passed.
In the evening I returned to the camp.
Just before going out I had a feeling that something was bothering her, but I had no idea what it was.
“Please, absolutely come again.”
She said and I hesitantly nodded.
“You got overcharged!”
Said surprised Kishimoto, when I directly told him about today events, not mentioning the details.
Kishimoto was someone from my group, that came here from Tokyo. You could say he was from the same year. I think he was older than me.
He has an adopted son, but he did something bad and ran here. Affair, embezzlement, debts. I heard such rumors, but discrepancy between them was too large and in all I didn’t learn anything, so I ignored them.
Between Japanese from the same group apparently such talks about someone’s life took place, however I wasn’t interested in them, so despite the fact that I only spoke Japanese, I knew almost nothing about these people.
Kishimoto as the only one from our group knew English, so he was important for relaying information.
He took some money during shopping, but even though some realized that, no one said anything. He was useful for us after all.
Kishimoto claimed that at such a place you have to negotiate the price and that next time I should do it as it should be done, but I didn’t reply nor even nod.
I looked pessimistically at tomorrow, not sure what will be next, but under the influence of todays events I thought about Shawii, the woman with a terribly ruined skin. At least on the emotional level I felt some connection with her.
“Well next time it will go better.”
Kishimoto left laughing.
That was the last time when I saw him. I haven’t told him about Shawii.
The company didn’t give any explanation on the subject of Kishimoto’s disappearance. It seems they didn’t have any obligation nor need to do that.
There were different rumors, such as, he resigned after he was assaulted, they sent him to a different program or that he died in an accident.
But just as with his life, you couldn’t trust those stories. All of them were uncertain after all.
After this event everyone ceased their social interactions. I don’t think I would be wrong saying they realized the pointlessness of building relationships here.
It’s awfully hard to start over building new relationships after they’re destroyed once or twice.
Not only me, but everyone from our group limited their everyday conversations to necessary minimum needed for work.
Stiff shoulders and eyestrain
Since that time, beside training exercises, there was nothing special to do.
It didn’t matter if it was a day off or not, you couldn’t use Internet or phone anyway.
Taking into account country, in which this camp was located and work performed, it was obvious.
Easy to say, but initially due to the lack of Internet, after 10 hour-long work I was terribly tired and only slept.
Later when I finally got used to the conditions here and understood that I can’t use the Internet, other Japanese from the group already accepted that, but I couldn’t come to terms with that.
Not only was this country far from Japan, where additionally this black company ignored international treaties.
Setting aside bypassing international treaties, they could after all say to me – don’t call us a black company just because you can’t use Internet – but for me, from the start lack of access to pages with videos or Twitter was quite stressful.
In that aspect as an otaku I stayed behind everyone. It pissed me off.
In this season admittedly there weren’t any good anime, but since I can’t watch the next one either, I didn’t understand anymore what’s the point of me working here.
I even had a period when I seriously considered leaving, but I really don’t have the balls to do something like that.
To my dismay, with time I got used to life without the Internet and anime. A weight from the heart.
Actually it’s probably more like putting aside cigarettes, first smoking withdrawal and then fear of smoking again.
Anyway to my surprise their absence stopped bothering me. I thought that after a year, when I come back to Japan, I will start watching again.
For the time being I should be glad, that I could gather some savings.
In the meantime I got better and better at my job.
Pro gamer in pressing blue buttons – that was my whole work.
Unlike Japanese games, this one had poor graphics and occasionally you were unable to finish it.
Additionally you had to play for many hours.
After such time the eyes are tired. Eyelids get heavy and eyes bloodshot.
This is not a joke, after a few days sharpness of eyesight is declining.
I lowered brightness of the monitor to minimum and began to care for my eye hygiene. Left was the problem with my neck. Ten hours of work isn’t just for show.
In the 4th or 5th day off … that was before the assignment test, so in 4th – I thought about using the opportunity to order something. Some ointment for shoulders and something good for the eyes, blackberries.
I already decided to make a purchase, but I realized the stupid mistake I made – there was no Internet access after all.
Only then I realized that when they were speaking about Amazon, it was a joke. I’m a moron, you can’t put it differently.
I was starting to forget about this frustration from the lack of Internet, but it seemed that it’s returning again, though it won’t change anything anyway.
In the end I spoke with two Japanese from my group and asked if they don’t have any way to deal with eyestrain and stiff shoulders.
They were doing daily the same thing, and they looked like they had the same problem, so an answer came immediately.
You should put a hot towel to your eyes and put pebbles on your eyelids, apparently it’s good when there is some weight on them. For stiff shoulders apparently remains the gym.
Everything apparently, nothing 100% sure, but what can you do. That’s all the knowledge of a unit deprived of Google.
After ten hours of work, from all my muscles, shoulders I had already forged.
I barely swung the dumbbells, but I had a feeling it actually helped.
After putting a hot towel to my eyes their condition also actually improved.
Mirror next to the showers doesn’t get foggy, but that’s the issue of the local climate.
That’s why luckily it’s easy to make such towel. It’s enough that wet it lies for a bit on the sun and it’s ready.
You just have to watch out, so it won’t get completely dry.
It’s pleasant to put it to your eyes. Even in Japan there is no greater pleasure.
Day after the fifth day off, assignment test was held.
Though actually it was the same thing as always. Just pushing blue buttons.
Within this kind of game, the number of buttons increased, but in the end nothing really changed.
Although they weren’t blue anymore, but I call them that for my own convenience. Blue button is for me a symbol of this job.
Situation that was presented on the test was quite hard. Two tactical P units were driving separately along a road with the width of one-lane. During the ride an explosion occurs.
For the report on the situation a Q button is used.
There is no response from the unit commander, there is a response from the sub-commander, finally an EX occurs, or explosion.
Looking over the responses of other members you have 2 seconds to think, imagining the situation.
The first vehicle with the leader of the P unit is blown up. I immediately gave the command for them to move away over 200 m from there.
During staying here in shock, another attack will probably happen.
Looking at the map I give commands on how they should relocate. I withdraw the unit, ordering them to ride in zigzag in the middle of the road as fast as possible.
There is no point in counterattacking, I’m focusing on relocating.
After 300 m there is a checkpoint of an allied force. I’m keeping a distance.
Taking into account how it went till now enemy numbers rather aren’t so great. Coming to the way in which the enemy operates to obtain points, probably the checkpoint will be his target. In this place there is the biggest possible point gain for the enemy. My P unit was attacked by a diversion.
I ignored a prompt-note with a request to recover the bodies.
A request to confirm the number of wounded popped up, but as a priority I choose withdrawal.
The frequent reason for defeat, was focusing on taking care of the dead, or establishing the number of wounded, when the next attack was coming. That’s what I wanted to avoid.
Ally was 300m away. Thanks to the explosion and the abandoned vehicle the road is blocked, that’s a good situation.
I give a command to the sub-commander to hide behind the first vehicle and regroup. 3 S units are left. Situation is changing.
Explosion occurs in the checkpoint. I send one unit to the nearest building. There is a high chance there is a sniper there. He is not there. Immediately I direct the rest of the S units to the checkpoint through the edge of the road. Rally command. Unit from the building starts to move.
There is a lot of points for saving the checkpoint. After losing the P leader you can get them too.
Another request to collect the bodies. I’m sending only one S unit to the car that exploded earlier. Local civilian populace might turn out to be hostile, I don’t know why, but locals from the buildings, that were attacked, become mostly hostile.
I concluded that to avoid that, you have to make it so the citizens won’t approach the vehicle.
For now I will only secure the explosion site, and later will collect the bodies. It seems that the intensive fight in the checkpoint is coming to the end, and the pinned down enemy intends to retreat.
I carry out an assault there using the two remaining S units.
For the first time today I pushed the blue button. I wait two minutes. While I hesitate whether to push the confirming Q button, I receive a report from the sub-commander, that one S unit eliminated the enemy. Report about withdrawing comes.
I issue a command to torment the retreating enemy.
I order a sniper to attack the fleeing enemy. Part of the S unit I call back to the vehicle, confirm again the elimination of the enemy by the S unit and withdraw everyone.
I gather everyone in the vehicle, collecting bodies of the dead and wounded. And that’s how the test ended.
To tell the truth I don’t know if I did well. It was always like that, the company never gave a full explanation.
Nonetheless since that day I was separated from others to another program.
My job didn’t change, but during the task the map, that is topography, was completely different. Mountainous with poor field of view.
It seems harder than the previous one.
After assignment test ended, I received additionally two extra days off.
At the beginning I accepted them with enthusiasm, but really in the camp there was not much to do.
I considered whether to go to the brothel, but I wasn’t in the mood. I could also somehow with broken English buy a beer, but that’s also annoying so I gave up that idea.
Ultimately I decided to use that time for sleeping. It’s great to sleep.
I got up in the evening and went to the unfinished parking lot to see the setting sun. I sat on a nearby rock. It proved to be too hot, so I decided to stand.
So far you couldn’t afford to spend time in such a sophisticated way.
Suddenly I thought that I would want to learn English. Especially in conditions where I have a narrow range of possibilities, not knowing the language limits them even more. It can’t be like that anymore.
I have nothing against this sunset, but I was getting depressed on the thought, that on every such occasion I would have to watch it.
Learning materials were a problem. I was excited, because till now I didn’t have a willingness to learn, but I could use at least some textbooks not to mention a teacher. How can I get them here… .
I ate dinner and to move my body I went to the gym. There I thought about it all the time.
When I was taking a shower I found an answer.
They work poorly in this country. Only enough so everyone can wash their head.
More or less after two minutes water stops flowing. There are no bathtubs. If you don’t plan your bathing well, you will end with only a washed head.
During my short stay under the shower I thought, that I will go to the brothel after all.
Following day, before noon I got on the shaking van and headed to the brothel. Happy old lady recognized me and immediately called Shawii.
“You came at last. What were you doing?”
She said holding my shoulders.
Walking she was still holding me by my shoulders. I asked her if she speaks English.
She answered coldly.
I was glad. Shawii makes a puzzled face.
I asked her if she could get me materials for English, some ointment for stiff shoulders or blackberries.
“Do you understand where we are?”
More than surprised, a bit upset, she replied.
I don’t have any other person I can count on. I understand you, forgive me, but please – I pressed further despite her resistance.
I paid immediately.
After receiving the money, with a gloomy face as if wondering, she says.
“You have to come on every day off.”
And that’s how my English classes started.
Shawii with incomprehensible for me embarrassment began teaching. That’s when I realized that she most probably received higher education. It’s rather impossible that on a university.
Shawii’s English, company’s English
English, that I’m learning in the brothel proved to be more ordinary than I thought.
After the assignment test, in parallel English classes in the company started, but I want to focus on English with Shawii.
Shawii was a good teacher. Practical, she taught what actually will be useful. Not sentences like : this is a pen.
We started from English used during shopping: how much does it cost? ; too expensive ; I don’t need that ; I will take it for that much.
Indeed 70% of English used abroad concerns shopping or ordering something so it was at the same time practical and helpful.
Such useful English acquired early really helps with further learning. Experience, that you learned something useful motivates to continue learning.
In this regard Shawii was a really good teacher. She understands what a foreigner needs.
Next I learned commonplace phrases. Pointing a finger, ask: What is it? ; What is it for? ; What is this thing? ; simpler, please. Once again useful things. Now you can ask about things you do not know.
Next came vocabulary. Pointing at different things, sometime on her body parts, Shawii told me to answer.
That’s how I was learning the basics.
When I find something difficult to answer, I point it out.
There were also times it didn’t resemble normal classes, but generally thanks to this method I learned the minimum necessary, taking my first steps in the basics.
In the company on the other hand, English was simple, boring and dull. Simply common. Pure memorization. Without room for deeper reflection.
An example scene was shown and according to that you memorized an example sentence, or rather a template. That’s all. They taught only what you could use at work.
I don’t know whether it is enough: Forward ; Fire ; Reporting ;What are the losses? . It was full of such depressing statements.
For 6 weeks they told us to remember close to 2 thousand templates. Daily around 50. Majority of that were simple things like Yes or No, but sheer amount of that was annoying. I had good memory, so it wasn’t a problem for me, but it seemed that some were struggling with it.
And that’s how I learned English on the basic level. Although actually it wasn’t enough to hold ordinary conversations with coworkers.
Later I resumed my English lessons once again and learned grammar. It’s not important at work or during shopping, because even with incorrect grammar you can come to an agreement.
The point is that just knowing vocabulary was limiting me.
Unexpectedly during training in my new place, my life became easier.
During 10 hours of classes, breaks were assigned for shorter or longer rest. In total about 2 hours. Longest break lasted more or less one hour.
At this time there is a meal, but when I’m lucky it’s possible to eat a sandwich.
Moreover I was even allowed to leave my duties and nap.
Shorter breaks lasted more or less 10 minutes. There is a duty to supervise the monitor and you can’t go to the toilet, but aside from that there is full freedom.
If someone likes it, he can even masturbate.
Of course I didn’t have such inclinations. Problem was that I never knew when there will be a longer break, that’s why it was unknown when you could go to the restroom.
Probably the only thing left is to leak.
In Japan there were diapers intended for sick or adults. If you would use them it should be fine. At least certainly you could focus on your work more.
Lately many things come to me frequently that when I was in Japan, I never thought about.
I thought briefly, that next time it would be good to buy in bulk many things and then resell to my comrades in arms.
Although of course I would have to return to Japan first and then be willing to come here again.
Anyway terrain on map here is rather complex.
Previously there was simply a wide field and now on the north and west side there are mountains, and to the south a wide plain.
Looking at the topographical map, which green wireframe didn’t resemble anything, that you can see even in movies nowadays, I thought that certainly there is somewhere actually a place that may look the same.
It doesn’t give a feeling of reality, but I’m assuming it corresponds to a real location. That were only my conjectures.
In my mind I’m pressing blue buttons and in reality I’m going with the flow and pressing Q for confirmation.
There is no change in the situation.
It looks like I got an operator’s operator position.
I don’t know why it was called that, but I don’t know English well enough yet. I managed however to catch Charlie and ask him when he came to deliver documents.
“Formerly we called our contractors private operators. Handling those operators is your job.”
He said that next time he will buy me a beer and left.
I don’t understand why he wants to buy me a beer.
They are saying “operator” all the time but what is it exactly? I wanted to look it up in the dictionary. I couldn’t wait for a day off.
Here whether in classes or in the camp I’m unable to acquire it, so to be able to obtain it, I will go to the bazaar called brothel.
I borrowed a dictionary from Shawii and read that operator is a person that is operating some machine.
I wondered whether tactical unit S is a machine, but I was more or less satisfied with this meaning.
Shawii like usual with a slightly upset face taught me English.
At the start when she began teaching me she wore clothes that revealed skin, but lately she once again dresses normally.
“Do you have enough of English?”
She says with a challenging look.
I replied that not at all. I still don’t understand what she has in mind when she says that.
Maybe she just has such a gloomy nature or maybe I don’t know her and I judge her unfairly? I don’t really know, but I needed English, that’s why I depend on her.
I feel a bit guilty, but I don’t have any other way left. I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing, but maybe when I learn English I will also understand her behavior.
Anyway there is nothing left than learning it. Maybe when I will learn it our relations will change and I won’t have to depend on her anymore.
Anyway Shawii says, that learning English in American style is much easier than in Japanese. Seems that in America they know how to do it, since for so many years they accepted immigrants and taught them en masse.
I don’t remember exactly when, but sometime during the second half of my stay in the camp cases started appearing, when I had to work at night.
Even though this was a genuine black company, night shift to my surprise was paid. 800 yen per hour. That’s why I wasn’t complaining.
On the night shifts I also got a colleague for company.
According to manager’s orders, every time whether we worked by day or night changed.
Man who was in custody of tactical unit C, which was on a higher level than ours P, was the manager, and his name was Dalian. It was by his orders that every time whether we worked by day or night changed.
It’s true that I already started learning English seriously, but I still didn’t speak too well yet, that’s why I sat at the back and only listened.
It seemed that Dalian is in this camp for a second time and that middle management personnel also attends this training. After all here is the training center for training in our company. In fact you could say it’s like a center for all training in our company.
It’s true that I was assigned a manager, but my job in itself didn’t change. It’s just that I didn’t like that in this mountainous area there were a lot of surprise attacks. You can’t score points too much. Also there are more points subtracted for losses.
Points were the main reason as to why I called it a computer game. Elimination of an enemy unit gave some number of points and loss of an allied one subtracted them. And from that you got a score.
I couldn’t see the total score, but in some way I was conscious of it and I tried to do things in a way, so it would be as high as possible. I think that’s how it worked. There is no denying, that scores gave me motivation and a “kick” to work.
Tactical unit P I’m responsible for gets a longer break in a march.
That day there was no exercise on how to deal with an offensive during a march of a single P unit, but exercises of a common strategy for several P units.
C unit calls unit P for an assembly, so it’s probably more accurate to say, that the fight is led by unit C. More or less 3 P units correspond to 1 C unit.
That day I was responsible for the right flank. Order for a longer break in a march was given by Dalian. Half of the units went on standby. Also my P unit.
Relocation from the right flank to the middle took place in a formation as if they were surrounded by a P unit, which still failed to stop. C unit in a much larger number changed position and moved into formation for a longer stop.
I call it the ring.
While half of the OOs, that is operator’s operators, were taking a nap, I worked for points while eating dried fruits from Shawii that in no way resembled blackberries.
If you lower the number of surprise attacks then losses will also decrease.
As far as I looked closely through the data, surprise attacks took place only near the village that is on map.
As an exercises in a camp they are quite well prepared. Enemy is not without food.
Taking the village as a base, everyday they move around in its vicinity.
I thought that in that case it would be better to destroy the village. Thanks to that you can decrease by a large degree chances for losing points. However in this moment the stop ended and new commands came from unit C to subordinated to it three P units.
Coincidence? Could it be that everyone thought about the same thing? It was an order to attack the village. I thought so.
Again my P unit returned to the right flank.
I left behind a S unit, while the rest moved to surround the village. I went further than instructions I received. I placed unit P along the road. Differently than usual.
Order from Dalian’s C unit to press the blue button.
After pressing Q for confirmation, I pressed the blue button. Response comes from the commander of unit P to confirm my choice.
Irritated that with question he is answering a question, I press the blue button again. Another unit already started their offensive.
Finally my unit P started an attack. Shooting at fleeing enemies from the village. Easy job. In a good mood I looked at my rising points.
There are still enemies trying to return fire, but most of them are fighting in the village with other P units.
Meanwhile at my place the enemy runs in a straight line in one direction. Good that he is not moving in zig-zag. You don’t have to use many bullets. Enemy panics, exactly like amateurs.
Happy I looked at a place in the back.
In my memory remained Dalian’s face, which was more severe than I thought.
That day my score broke a new record.
Encounter with a weapon
If someone gets used to a day off every 5th day, the concept of ordinary week is fading in him.
Actually, lately telling what day of the week it was became hard.
Nonetheless I didn’t have a problem with that, so I even stopped being interested in what day it was.
For this reason, when I got an order from Dalian to next Sunday go to the hangar instead of the operation room, I panicked terribly.
I thought it was a good opportunity to show the effects of my lessons with Shawii and asked when is Sunday.
First he asked if I’m stupid, but then he calmly said that in 3 days. I think he remembered I don’t know English at all. He started to move as if he was startled.
Lately he looks as if he felt aversion to me. I didn’t really know the reason and I didn’t care about that.
3 days passed.
I got up in the morning, went to the restroom, finished my breakfast and started wondering how to kill time, that was left for me to go to the hangar.
For the first time since I’m here I had free time during work hours. Which reminds me that in Japanese companies a lot of time is wasted for nothing.
In the end I decided to learn English.
Lately I realized that when my ear got used to English, I remember unexpectedly quite a lot of vocabulary.
I have a feeling it was all in elementary or middle school. It seems that things I learned in middle school didn’t go to waste. I just couldn’t connect what I have learned with my experience but I had the basics.
That’s why now I mainly learn grammar. If I understand grammar I will be able to understand the context.
I have a feeling grammar was also sometime in high school. Although that’s something I don’t remember exactly.
I checked my watch. 15 minutes till meeting left.
In this camp there are no cellphones, that’s why you can’t check the time on them. Till now I didn’t wear a watch on my arm, but now I got used to it.
Nowadays I urgently need a more solid watch that won’t lose time.
I’m in a place where I can’t from the start ask for time. I can’t also really correct desynchronization and that’s why I want new, precise watch.
It would be good if the clock dial was clear. It’s hard to calculate the hour on digital display, if I don’t look closely I can’t make sure what hour it is, so analog one would be better.
10 minutes left till meeting. I started walking.
I reached the hangar 5 minutes before time.
When I went inside came the command : Attention!.
Before my eyes were contractors evenly standing at attention. Fifteen robust men.
They have loose clothes, that’s why I think they are contractors.
Everyone is holding a rifle which I’ve seen in movies. They are probably automatic rifles.
Very weird feeling, when everyone is looking at me.
Beside them in the hangar there are three vehicles, small enough that they look as if it isn’t possible for a human to enter them. They also don’t have a driver’s cabin, so I thought they are maybe controlled by radio or are automatic.
In their trunks various equipment was loaded. Ammunition, pipes looking like weapons, helmets.
In the back 4 trucks, resembling passenger cars. Pick-ups. They looked Japanese. One of them was visibly damaged. You could say a wreck.
“Platoon has assembled.”
One person stepped forward out of line and said so in English. Platoon, that is platoon from English.
Despite that in the company it is forbidden, everyone saluted me. I don’t know what’s going on.
Charlie came unnoticed and patted me on the shoulder.
“Charlie, they are saluting me.”
“Because that’s the only thing they can do.”
Charlie winked. I don’t understand.
Sturdily built man, who took one step forward ahead of the row, with a courteous step stopped and watched me. He looked literally as if his neck stretched.
He is speaking something energetically.
Beside me Charlie translates. At this stage he didn’t have to do this, since I understood it anyway, but I deliberately didn’t say anything.
“I’m eternally grateful for operating during yesterday’s mission. Especially for respecting our fallen comrades and the dead body of the commander of our unit”
My knees were shaking. Unit, platoon, tactical unit P? I finally understood what he means. Unit C must be a company then.
“They are grateful for operating their colleagues during the fight at the checkpoint Arata. I’m also thankful. That my good buddies survived is your doing Jap”.
Though he was speaking in Japanese, I’m feeling as if I don’t understand anything.
All the time I admired how much it resembled a real fight. How incredibly stupid I was.
Village. What about the village? I remembered Dalian’s expression. Enemy behaved like an amateur, running down the road in a straight line.
I instantly forgot about what I have in front of my eyes and I felt sick. That was not an enemy but civilians.
“I said I would buy you a drink.”
Said Charlie with a smile.
“You have done well”
I can’t believe it.
I don’t remember what was after that.
I do remember though, that despite my low weight I lost 5 kg anyway and that I threw up everything to the awfully white toilet bowl.
Despite that I didn’t annul the contract. Probably because till now it went so well for me.
I got a special day off.
I went to the brothel. I could not come up with another place I could go to. Old lady and Shawii were surprised to see me.
Shawii took me by hands and for the first time guided me to a room with doors. I cried and she embraced me and stroked my shoulders.
I regret from the bottom of my heart, that that day at that moment I forgot to pay.
They treated me so well and I didn’t pay, sobbing like a fool.
If my condition remained unchanged I would have certainly returned to Japan, but that didn’t happen.
I wanted to make sure to what extent it was exercises and to what extent it was live action. It will change nothing, but despite that I wanted to know.
Being 99% sure that this was live action, I wanted to believe that attack on the village was an exercise, so I stuck to that other version.
I thought that even if I return to Tokyo my nausea won’t cease. It didn’t even cross my mind to be pleased with myself.
Thought, that thanks to my egoism I could do something like that to the villagers, that I killed civilians, is driving me to madness.
I realized I was receiving money for war. I was fully aware. I also put a signature. However shooting at projected on a monitor, running in a straight line villagers, this is not war.
Something is shouting in my head that’s against the agreement, but even so it will not change anything. Even suing them probably won’t work. Our company is really a black company.
On the third day I went back to work. There Dalian reminded me that it came to that, because I was playing around.
Charlie’s real name is Bob Stein.
According to guidelines, during training he performs his duties under the name Charlie.
If you think about it, the people I had contact with till now are Andrew, Ben, Charlie and Dalian.
Initials were set according to alphabet in order in which I met them for the first time.
Now I understand. The training was perfectly thought out. You never know when the blue button becomes real. I was a complete idiot to forget that.
Charlie took me to a bar.
I don’t have a too strong head for drinking. After one beer I’m getting all red. Speaking honestly it still didn’t taste very good to me.
In my state to be able to fall asleep I preferred to choose a gym and get tired there.
“Since when it was for real?”
I asked this, haunting me all the time question.
“From the start.”
Says Charlie while laughing. It seems to me he is answering like that because of the regulations.
I don’t know what’s the goal of that. I have a feeling that it only delayed realizing the gravity of the situation.
It’s weird that I worry about that, after all from the start I volunteered myself here for the money. Nonetheless at any costs I wanted to be sure. When could be the first time when I pulled the trigger while pushing the blue button?
Looking at my face, Charlie smiles bitterly.
“Two fights before the one at the checkpoint.”
He said in a whisper.
Charlie says that commands I was giving were brilliant, that’s why they changed my training program to real work. In other words they sent me to a place that had value for them.
Apparently in this country that were fights at checkpoints. Otherwise it would be difficult to find a car wreckage.
I don’t think that one had some particular value.
So then it’s curious where they will send me now. Where is a valuable place for the company. I thought seriously about where I will find myself.
It would be foolish to just ask outright. In the north there were mountains? Or maybe not?
I felt the bitterness of beer. Charlie with a reddened face said, that soon 13 week-long training will end.
So much time already passed? – I thought.
I asked what’s next and Charlie only shrugged.
Apparently he wasn’t in a position to know that.
“All I know is that in a week you won’t be in this camp anymore.”
Said Charlie with something resembling regret, but seemingly with not only that.
The closest thing that express that is my father’s expression, when I said to him I’m going to Tokyo.
“Well, your results suggest that wherever they will drop you, it will be a hot place.
He said smiling and then ordered another can of beer.
Ordering a can of beer in this bar you also get a cup.
It looks weird, but all in all in Japan it’s also that way with bottles. Altogether you can say that rather in Japan it’s weird, that only with cans you don’t get a cup.
Loss of interests
Every day I thought, that maybe I killed innocent civilians.
I lost interest in other things.
It came to that because I lacked the imagination to predict that.
At the start I tried to take up something modest like figure skating or tennis. But I quickly lost interest in it. To be more accurate no hobby appeared to me as attractive, so from the start it was doomed to fail. But I think that’s normal.
If a human doesn’t have anything on his conscience then you can have carefree fun. Since I started to have, I couldn’t afford to be carefree. No matter how attractive entertainment it will be.
Moreover I wasn’t able to fake being carefree. I could not live with this burden, but I was also afraid to die.
I couldn’t handle anything, so I ran to the brothel. As a human I reached the bottom.
Actually I already noticed my fall when I was a NEET, but even the bottom has its end.
Bottom of the bottom. When it seems it can’t be worse, something even worse happens. That’s probably life.
Regardless, I could not get rid of my room. Every month I paid the rent. For what – I don’t know.
Somewhere in the depth of my heart I wondered, whether I could watch anime again with a smile on my lips.
Thirteen weeks long training was nearing its end.
Day before my last day off in this country I bought a hand cream at a stall.
Admittedly I wanted a cream or some cosmetic, but in the training camp they have no such things.
On the other hand, what’s interesting, they sell a lot of stockings. Probably there are some that likes them.
With the hand cream I got on the van. It’s the truth that after riding in it your bottom hurts, but I already got used to it.
Since the training is coming to the end, there are a lot of contractors sitting in the van.
I wouldn’t want Shawii to be taken by someone else, but oh well. I thought that in the worst case I will just give her that cream and go back.
I’m on the spot. Shawii emerges from the inside. Like last time she grabbed me by hands and we moved.
“Everything’s alright? How’s the weight?”
Answering that everything’s alright I pushed the cream onto her.
We walked down a dark corridor, so she had to strain her sight. I saw how she was watching the container of the hand cream.
“Here. It’s for hands supposedly, but you can also use it for face. It will help you for dry skin.”
Shawii looks at me.
“For skin care.”
After all it’s a foreign country, but I found it peculiar that during all 13 weeks of training not once did it rain.
Today is the first day after training, which as of last day came to an end.
All the time I wanted to find out if that village was real, but at this stage I’m not capable of knowing that or even in a position to be able to learn that.
First I will leave this place and then we will see.
They are transferring me to a branch, where there is less emphasis on discipline. That cheered me up and my nausea subsided.
It reminds me of my work in a small designer company. Despite that it was in Tokyo, it was only a branch in the suburbs. That’s why only sometimes commissions appeared.
There is no comparison with those in the central, which have loads of work and more strict regulations.
Maybe it’s an another country, but companies function the same way.
I hope that leaving the training center of the company will be the first step to knowing the truth.
I looked at the blue sky. Ironically the same way, as when I first came here.
I wonder who is this person, that is looking at the sky now.
I get on one of the four buses and head to an American military base.
Together with me in the bus there is around 200 people. One medium division, or in the terminology I know, six tactical units P corresponding to tactical unit C.
In the vehicle full of additional seats, I’m crammed in the seat near the window.
I wonder if I should inform Shawii that I’m leaving this country and we won’t see each other again.
I assume I was the only such weird customer that came almost every 5th day. She was a very valuable English teacher for me.
I rest my face on the window and smile bitterly. Informing about parting is only an issue of self-satisfaction. Since that day I know about that. I’m horribly selfish.
The bus stops. I get out.
In comparison to our company camp, American base was incredible.
It would be fair to say that subcontractors were an entirely different league.
In the equipment of the infantry there isn’t such a significant difference, but a strong impression made on me parked armored cars, which till now I only saw in the movies.
They had 6 wheels and it looked like they could transport two S units. In relation to the number of people they could load they had compact size. Surely when you get into them you are packed like sardines.
They say they are waiting for transport.
And so, as they were loaded on the transport plane, we took off.
Main cargo were just them. Inside one plane fits one armored car. Using free space by the wall, we attached metal benches and we sat on them during transport.
That’s the fate of subcontractors you would like to say, but it appears to me that I wouldn’t be wrong if I say that it’s because civilian planes don’t fly here.
When the plane shakes, then armored car fixed with a wire also start to sway. The look of tense, swaying wires was a quite interesting, uncommon view.
I tried not to think about what would happen if they snap. It crossed my mind, that even in the movies it gives nothing.
Nonetheless it seems that transport of armored cars by plane is completely unnecessary. After all you can do it simpler by train or ship.
Surely the reason they didn’t do that or can’t do that lies in the surroundings.
^1. Everything in bold is in English in the original (more or less), limited to relevant places.
^2. Physical exercises are important in Japanese tradition like morning radio calisthenics, some companies also organize exercises for their whole personnel to strengthen unity, rise morale and promote a healthy lifestyle.
^3. Literally something like “Attention! At ease!”. The thing you maybe did in your school during PE, with standing at attention and facing different directions at command.
^4. Well, you might have already got that, but those initials refer to actual unit in order of size: S-squad, P-platoon, C-company. Usually 2-4 of lower tier units correspond to a higher one.